TQM vs. Six Sigma: What’s Different?

Motorola registered the term “Six Sigma” as a trademark in 1993, but it alludes to the Greek letter “sigma,” a statistical symbol that denotes a standard deviation. Because a Six Sigma process is supposed to be 99 percent defect-free, Motorola used the term. 99966 percent of the time — allowing for 3. 4 defective features for every million opportunities. This objective was initially established by Motorola for its own manufacturing operations, but it quickly gained popularity and was adopted as a standard.

Large organizations can benefit from Six Sigma’s focus on quality management. When Jack Welch, CEO of GE, donated more than $1 million to the company in 1998, he did so in appreciation for how Six Sigma had improved GE’s operations and to further the process’s popularity among big businesses. After that, Fortune 500 companies adopted the strategy, and large organizations have embraced Six Sigma ever since.

Any Six Sigma project’s objective is to find and remove any flaws that are causing quality variations by defining a series of steps centered around a particular target. The targets “smaller is better, larger is better, or nominal is best” are used in the majority of the examples you’ll find. ”.

Although they appear to be similar, DMAIC and DMADV have different use cases. The DMAIC methodology is intended for current processes or products that aren’t performing to standards or customers’ needs. When a company needs to create a new product or process, or when an already-optimized product still falls short, that is when you want to use DMADV.

Comparing Total Quality Management (TQM) with Six Sigma

What is TQM used for?

An organization’s TQM goal is to increase customer satisfaction. TQM assists companies in developing a methodical strategy for managing quality in production and customer interaction. It’s also used to boost employee morale by giving them the freedom to use their skills to support a company’s objectives.

A TQM approach focuses on these key elements:

What is TQM?

Total quality management, or TQM, is a business strategy that emphasizes a company’s overall success in all areas of its operations. TQM uses employees’ expertise and experience as one key component of improving customer service. Using total quality management will help a business succeed in the long run.

What is Six Sigma?

Businesses use the Six Sigma methodology to improve all aspects of their operations by finding and fixing flaws. This methodology provides quantifiable data for a results-driven operation across all areas of the business and uses statistical analysis to control variation.

The following techniques for problem-solving, also known as DMAIC, are used in the Six Sigma methodology:

What is Six Sigma used for?

Six Sigma is used to provide instruments that aid in enhancing business procedures. It increases product quality by increasing predictability of business outcomes and processes.

Employees are trained using the Six Sigma methodology, which awards certifications at five different levels of process knowledge:

Differences between TQM and Six Sigma

The following are the main contrasts between the TQM and Six Sigma business strategy approaches:

Quality standards

Different techniques are used by TQM and Six Sigma to assess the quality of a process or a product. In TQM, maintaining current quality standards is decided by the actions of employees. By examining the functions of various business areas and working to bring any underperforming segments back to the same level as the rest of the organization, current quality standards are continuously maintained.

Six Sigma emphasizes process changes to maintain and raise quality standards. Instead of preserving outdated procedures, Six Sigma focuses on developing new metrics to improve results. A Six Sigma business strategy aims to eliminate flaws to produce nearly flawless quality.

Data use

Both approaches use data to guarantee quality, but Six Sixma is more focused on statistics, using analysis to enhance procedures and cut costs. To achieve the highest quality standards, Six Sigma uses data to pinpoint the precise rate of error that must be eliminated.

TQM evaluates business process alignment with expected operational quality of the company using data. It also emphasizes using regular data reports to facilitate decision-making.

Internal systems

Internal procedures are used by TQM and Six Sigma to uphold quality throughout all business operations. TQM focuses on enhancing internal procedures to advance customer service and uphold currently implemented quality systems.

Six Sigma seeks to enhance the performance of a single business process. Businesses use Six Sigma to make changes to an existing system and concentrate exclusively on that system on a project basis. This approach allows for the simultaneous operation of multiple projects, each of which is overseen by a different certified Six Sigma belt employee.

Company culture

TQM values a culture of collaboration. Companies that use TQM to guide operations place a greater emphasis on the team components of business relations and processes because employees are seen as an essential component of maintaining business quality. They incorporate strategies that work across multiple departments.

Using statistical analysis and improvement techniques, teams use the Six Sigma approach to focus on the functional task of maintaining error-free operations. Through certification programs, Six Sigma integrates the knowledge of employees who have already demonstrated their expertise, enabling team members to assume more responsibility as they advance in their training.


What are the 6 Sigma in TQM?

By identifying and removing flaws, the Six Sigma quality management methodology aids businesses in improving their current procedures, goods, or services. Making manufacturing and business processes more efficient will reduce or eliminate variation over time.

Is Six Sigma and TQM the same?

The methodology is the fundamental distinction between Six Sigma and TQM. While Six Sigma focuses on enhancing quality by reducing the number of defects, TQM sees quality as conformance to internal requirements. The outcome of both concepts could be the same in the end (i e. producing better quality products).

How does Six Sigma help in TQM?

By eliminating flaws in systems and processes, Six Sigma ensures that products are of the highest possible quality. Six sigma is a technique that aids in process and system improvement by locating and eventually removing roadblocks that could prevent an organization from achieving the highest levels of perfection.

Can TQM and Six Sigma be used together?

Although they can both be used separately, Six Sigma and TQM work well together. The two can frequently be combined in one business. Using them in tandem can improve output because they each have a distinct focus.

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